The long horned Ankole cow (LHAC) was predicted in 2007 to be extinct in 20 years (FAO, 2007). Certainly the LHAC is waning as predicted. In Uganda, the campaign to interbreed the LHAC with the high-yielding Holstein Friesian (HF) or to harvest the LHAC outright in favor of the HF has made so much economic sense that there is not a single ranch without an exotic herd. And the choice is also rather simple were it not absurdly simplistic. Breed money or conserve biological diversity. We now discuss the importance of the LHAC to the people of Ankole and what is being lost with it and the impact it creates.
In today’s world it is easy for local cultures to forget that despite all modern advancement we largely depend on indigenous resources and knowledge for our continued existence. History informs that traditional societies have centered on particular animals for development and survival. How a society goes about feeding itself, and the level of enlightenment in the process of food production, is an infallible guide to the nature of that society’s future. What was once a relationship of mutual respect between the LHAC keepers, their cows and nature is now being perverted to a regime of exploitation built on the meanness of pseudo-corporate farming, the Manichean view of modern US farming: large, soulless corporate enterprises on one side and on the other side human-scale artisanal operations.